Posts Tagged ‘Lectio Divina’


Ah parables. How best to reach an oral culture only kind of coming into written records. And those written records are tied more to the authorities, the wealthy than the collected masses, or as Marx would dub us the proletariat. The working classes. These are the classes that Jesus of Nazareth, Brother Jesus would emerge from. AN unwed mother married to a carpenter/labourer to literally save her from an unkindly street death. But he was one that got it, connected deeply to the source of all that is. Showing the way that we all could be connected into the source of Love.

It is the parable that touched into the deeper levels of the person, and allowed for the early followers of the Cosmic Christ in the flesh so diverse. Just think of it—outcasts, those with health issues, mental health concerns; sex trade workers, labourers, wealthy religious (in secret), Roman soldiers/officers and Zealots to name but a few. It was this type of parable that the social gospel movement in Canada tied into to get folks active for political and societal change. For example the story of Mouseland, with one of the most famous being Tommy Douglas, but also among the ranks Bible Bill Aberhart, Preston Manning, Joe Clark, Pierre Trudeau, J.S. Woodsworth, Agnes MacPhail (her image now gracing the $10 Canadian note), Paul Martin Jr., Rev. Bill Phipps, Elizabeth May, my own parents and grandparents,  to name but a few. But truly it is those driven by a deep conviction that we are created good, and as such we are to live out this ideal of justice, peace, faith, hope and love as laid out by Brother Jesus. So, I am sure there are many examples within your own world and life if you take but a moment to pause and ponder.

For it is in the parables that Brother Jesus lays out a path of self-discovery. A path that shows where we and our neighbours can be existing, but also at different phases in our lives where we have existed. For with planting soil changes over time, that which was not able to grow previous with the right tending and additions can become quite fertile.  This is the thrust found within the parable of the sower.

It is in most gospel texts that one would class as canonical, so if you wish to use this reflection with those texts, they can be found in the synoptic gospels in: Matthew 13:1-23, Mark 4:1-20, and Luke 8:1-15. Though we will continue to use Levi’s Aquarian gospel from the early 1900’s as the newer wording may touch a different chord. In that text it is found in chapter 115, which you may read here for full context

As always, I invite you to get comfortable where you are sitting. It is a meditative lectio divina as you hear the parable three times, with different focus questions to see where the soil of your heart is at, and where it is being renewed.  Before you begin, write on a scrap of paper that which you need to leave in the hear and now that can distract you. Once written crumple up and throw into the recycle. Those distractions, busyness, weights of the heart can come back after, but here, now your full presence is asked for.

Take time to slow your breathing, deep breaths in of cosmic love, the dust that formed your very essence as good. Breathe out the chakra sludge that separates you from that goodness.

Feel the 21st century technological buzzing fade away. Feel the chair you are sitting on disappear, along with the walls of where you are. The time. Travel back. Feel the dust and fresh breeze untouched by the Industrial Revolution. Smell the sea air.  The smell of the crowds, intermingling. You are on the outskirts of the crowd. People had spoken about this teacher, this Jesus of Nazareth. Some called him a bastard child and/or insane. Others said he was a master teacher, one with a new way to truly transform things.

As you hear the story the first time, think of when your heart was like the rocky soil where messages/actions of love were easily carried away by others, like the birds. Sit with one memory, what has or has not changed in your life since then?

The first hearing:

  1. And Jesus stood beside the sea and taught; the multitudes pressed close upon him and he went into a boat that was near by and put a little ways from shore, and then he spoke in parables; he said,
    Behold, a sower took his seed and went into his field to sow.
    3. With lavish hand he scattered forth the seed and some fell in the hardened paths that men had made,
    4. And soon were crushed beneath the feet of other men; and birds came down and carried all the seeds away.
    5. Some seed fell on rocky ground where there was little soil; they grew and soon the blades appeared and promised much;
    6. But then there was no depth of soil, no chance for nourishment, and in the heat of noonday sun they withered up and died.
    7. Some seed fell where thistles grew, and found no earth in which to grow and they were lost;
    8. But other seed found lodgement in the rich and tender soil and grew apace, and in the harvest it was found that some brought forth a hundred fold, some sixty fold, some thirty fold.
    9. They who have ears to hear may hear; they who hearts to understand may know.
    10. Now, his disciples were beside him in the boat, and Thomas asked, Why do you speak in parables?
    11. And Jesus said, My words, like every master’s words, are dual in their sense.
    12. To you who know the language of the soul, my words have meanings far too deep for other men to comprehend.
    13. The other sense of what I say is all the multitude can understand; these words are food for them; the inner thoughts are food for you.
    14. Let every one reach forth and take the food that he is ready to receive.
    15. And then he spoke that all might hear; he said, Hear you the meaning of the parable:
    16. Men hear my words and understand them not, and then the carnal self purloins the seed, and not a sign of spirit life appears.
    17. This is the seed that fell within the beaten paths of men.
    18. And others hear the words of life, and with a fiery zeal receive them all; they seem to comprehend the truth and promise well;
    19. But troubles come; discouragements arise; there is no depth of thought; their good intentions wither up and die.
    20. These are the seeds that fell in stony ground.
    21. And others hear the words of truth and seem to know their worth; but love of pleasure, reputation, wealth and fame fill all the soil; the seeds are nourished not and they are lost.
    22. These are the seeds that fell among the thistles and the thorns.
    23. But others hear the words of truth and comprehend them well; they sink down deep into their souls; they live the holy life and all the world is blest.
    24. These are the seeds that fell in fertile soil, that brought forth fruit abundantly.
    25. You men of Galilee, take heed to how you hear and how you cultivate your fields; for if you slight the offers of this day, the sower may not come to you again in this or in the age to come.

-Aquarian Gospel 115: 1-25

As you prepare for the second hearing. Think of the next step of life in self-discovery, within that inner battle of transfiguration. When have you been like the seed battling in the soil with the weeds to emerge and not taking hold? Let these memories move from your mind to your heart. Spend time with the root cause of rooting in the weeds instead of the seed of love? Are you ready to breathe out this sludge?

The second hearing:

  1. And Jesus stood beside the sea and taught; the multitudes pressed close upon him and he went into a boat that was near by and put a little ways from shore, and then he spoke in parables; he said,
    Behold, a sower took his seed and went into his field to sow.
    3. With lavish hand he scattered forth the seed and some fell in the hardened paths that men had made,
    4. And soon were crushed beneath the feet of other men; and birds came down and carried all the seeds away.
    5. Some seed fell on rocky ground where there was little soil; they grew and soon the blades appeared and promised much;
    6. But then there was no depth of soil, no chance for nourishment, and in the heat of noonday sun they withered up and died.
    7. Some seed fell where thistles grew, and found no earth in which to grow and they were lost;
    8. But other seed found lodgement in the rich and tender soil and grew apace, and in the harvest it was found that some brought forth a hundred fold, some sixty fold, some thirty fold.
    9. They who have ears to hear may hear; they who hearts to understand may know.
    10. Now, his disciples were beside him in the boat, and Thomas asked, Why do you speak in parables?
    11. And Jesus said, My words, like every master’s words, are dual in their sense.
    12. To you who know the language of the soul, my words have meanings far too deep for other men to comprehend.
    13. The other sense of what I say is all the multitude can understand; these words are food for them; the inner thoughts are food for you.
    14. Let every one reach forth and take the food that he is ready to receive.
    15. And then he spoke that all might hear; he said, Hear you the meaning of the parable:
    16. Men hear my words and understand them not, and then the carnal self purloins the seed, and not a sign of spirit life appears.
    17. This is the seed that fell within the beaten paths of men.
    18. And others hear the words of life, and with a fiery zeal receive them all; they seem to comprehend the truth and promise well;
    19. But troubles come; discouragements arise; there is no depth of thought; their good intentions wither up and die.
    20. These are the seeds that fell in stony ground.
    21. And others hear the words of truth and seem to know their worth; but love of pleasure, reputation, wealth and fame fill all the soil; the seeds are nourished not and they are lost.
    22. These are the seeds that fell among the thistles and the thorns.
    23. But others hear the words of truth and comprehend them well; they sink down deep into their souls; they live the holy life and all the world is blest.
    24. These are the seeds that fell in fertile soil, that brought forth fruit abundantly.
    25. You men of Galilee, take heed to how you hear and how you cultivate your fields; for if you slight the offers of this day, the sower may not come to you again in this or in the age to come.

-Aquarian Gospel 115: 1-25

Prepare yourself for the last hearing. When soil is fertile for the seed to take hold. Is there a time of remembrance in your life, your very soul energy that you can remember this? Even in the journeys that go to and fro where we exist mostly in rocks and weeds, there are glimmers of this or long lived life in the nourished soil. Take hold of the memories. Spend time going deeper into them to the core spark/stardust that is the ember of the Cosmic Christ within.

The Third Hearing:

  1. And Jesus stood beside the sea and taught; the multitudes pressed close upon him and he went into a boat that was near by and put a little ways from shore, and then he spoke in parables; he said,
    Behold, a sower took his seed and went into his field to sow.
    3. With lavish hand he scattered forth the seed and some fell in the hardened paths that men had made,
    4. And soon were crushed beneath the feet of other men; and birds came down and carried all the seeds away.
    5. Some seed fell on rocky ground where there was little soil; they grew and soon the blades appeared and promised much;
    6. But then there was no depth of soil, no chance for nourishment, and in the heat of noonday sun they withered up and died.
    7. Some seed fell where thistles grew, and found no earth in which to grow and they were lost;
    8. But other seed found lodgement in the rich and tender soil and grew apace, and in the harvest it was found that some brought forth a hundred fold, some sixty fold, some thirty fold.
    9. They who have ears to hear may hear; they who hearts to understand may know.
    10. Now, his disciples were beside him in the boat, and Thomas asked, Why do you speak in parables?
    11. And Jesus said, My words, like every master’s words, are dual in their sense.
    12. To you who know the language of the soul, my words have meanings far too deep for other men to comprehend.
    13. The other sense of what I say is all the multitude can understand; these words are food for them; the inner thoughts are food for you.
    14. Let every one reach forth and take the food that he is ready to receive.
    15. And then he spoke that all might hear; he said, Hear you the meaning of the parable:
    16. Men hear my words and understand them not, and then the carnal self purloins the seed, and not a sign of spirit life appears.
    17. This is the seed that fell within the beaten paths of men.
    18. And others hear the words of life, and with a fiery zeal receive them all; they seem to comprehend the truth and promise well;
    19. But troubles come; discouragements arise; there is no depth of thought; their good intentions wither up and die.
    20. These are the seeds that fell in stony ground.
    21. And others hear the words of truth and seem to know their worth; but love of pleasure, reputation, wealth and fame fill all the soil; the seeds are nourished not and they are lost.
    22. These are the seeds that fell among the thistles and the thorns.
    23. But others hear the words of truth and comprehend them well; they sink down deep into their souls; they live the holy life and all the world is blest.
    24. These are the seeds that fell in fertile soil, that brought forth fruit abundantly.
    25. You men of Galilee, take heed to how you hear and how you cultivate your fields; for if you slight the offers of this day, the sower may not come to you again in this or in the age to come.

-Aquarian Gospel 115: 1-25

 

Are you willing to take hold of that ember and fan it?

Are you able to live from that spark into and out of the divine?

When you are ready with that spark. Visualizing it moving through each of the seven chakras to firmly root in the opening/awakening crown chakra. Breath in deeply the love of all, breathe out the love of all. Feel the fresh air fade away. The breeze on your face stop. The noise of the crowds. You are the fertile soil the Master Sower has found.

Hold to this truth.

As you move forward through time.

As your room reforms around you.

Your chair.

Your breath slowly returns to normal.

Your eyes re-open.

Your very essence awakens.

Are you willing to truly live as the Master Sower has sowed you?

What are you going to do today to step into your destiny of love?


Been awhile since I have put together one of these column styles, but I believe it is time to get some fresh thoughts out there within the Canadian Social Justice Context. Since January 20, 2017 when President Trump was sworn in as President of the USA, I have noticed a downturn in the Canadian justice workers’ ability to be reflective about the state of our own nation, province, city/town/village, community and self. We like to project to the Big Bad Wolf to the South and be able to say “well its Trump.”

When truly, we have many stones to repair in Castle Le Canada.

This is some musings from the reflective time of Purim (the Hebrew Bible story of Esther) which begun at conclusion of Sabbath yesterday and concludes at sundown tonight. For the story of Esther, click here.  For those readers of regularity of this site, I encourage a reflective Lectio Divina of the text to set your spirit in a-tune-ment to see the state of your world and how it reflects in the Holy Story. 3 questions could be (one for each hearing):

  1. When have I been silent? (sit with this memory)
  2. When have I been Haman in my world?
  3. When have I found a voice like Esther?

The third is where you find the resonating with the love of the Holy Mystery to take forward. Another spiritual practice would be to rewrite the story from the hardest point of view you have: King, Esther, Mortdecai, Ex-Queen, Haman? What truths are revealed for your life?

But I digress as this is not a theology lesson, but rather a time to be eclectic and percolate some thoughts in our souls as Canadians where next steps lay for our Just Society.

Aboriginal Health Care– due to treaty and the colonial-patriarchy of reserves this falls under Federal auspices, yet any Constitutional Act 1982 student (BNA Act 1867) know that this means literal limbo for our First Nations family members as the true provider of health care is provincial. So how do we truly reconcile, move forward in the new and bury to old?  Full signing on of each specific nation as a province under the Constitution Act 1982 and Charter of Rights and Freedoms, with one step forward each nation dependent on population getting 4-8 seats in the House of Commons (not added extra, existing redistributed); and a set 10 block for all First Nations (+2 for Metis, +2 for Inuit) specifically in the senate, again redistribution, not adding.

This then can allow for both the HoC and Senate to be re-worked Constitutionally and perhaps a social charter can be designed that includes housing, health care, education, right of choice in life, death and income guarantees for every Canadian.

Which also flows into the next as #TRC has happened for our First Nations family, yet we have continued to ostracize/demonize another population whose story needs to be told- The Metis (Half-breeds).

The children of colonialism and the fur trade. The Roman Catholic Church forged a cultural community within those of mixed from Aboriginal-French. Which gave our nation Louis Riel and Garbiel Dumont, brought Manitoba into Confederation, first human rights writing in Canada, and a battle for equality. One that as a nation we never saw for this group until the 1930’s when they were finally recognized as human beings. The story of the Half-breeds on the book is much more destructive, as the British (Scottish-Irish) did not have collectivist good, and belief in conquering through inter-marriage but rather through absorbing. Which created the choice the child was either Aboriginal or white, so one culture lost completely. That is just what our history books will tell us, what is the story on the ground? That which has been silenced? We already know of the land tracts and speculators swindling them out of the land for a low price. But what other harm/trauma lies underneath that needs to be told? Held as truth? And then as a true community choosing to move forward as one?

This is why the TRC records with First Nations need to be kept in the national archive, need to be published and shared far and wide, so the story is known. It is part of us. But also part of the story is the choice to move forward as one and write a new story. This is the reconciliation piece of Truth and Reconciliation.

But this also brings down to the microcosm.

Where I have been struggling with my own Truth and Reconciliation within the United Church of Canada.The family pilgrimage for sacred community as has been written about, has brought us into a Northeast congregation of the UCC, where yes our son who is differently abled has found embrace. He is quite empathetic and a good reader of a person’s true energy, so when he goes on his own volition to join other kids you know the authenticity well.

But aiding him to walk as the weather change is making his muscles sore into the Wonderkids, and seeing the mish mash of kids: other cultures, typically and differently abled just together being kids it hit in my heart.

For it was seeing lived out today in church,  what almost 10 years ago got me fired from the United Church Congregation that I surrendered any hope of ordination to choose inclusion.

Just one of those aha moments, that when you start to unpack the day, and realizing the connections of everything…people…nature…energy…the Holy Mystery permeates all, and all is interconnected within it.

So as with the differently abled community coming into full inclusion in the microcosm, I look to the TRC at the more macro level for inclusion at the national level… and to the two national party’s choosing leaders-Conservative and NDP I ask members to look to the core of the beautiful mosaic Canada is, and to vote your conscience for a leader, and for policy that shapes your party in that unity within our diversity to move forward from troubled waters of the past both recent and historic.

Make the choice as Esther did, to find our voice, step out of the silence, and into the resounding thunder of justice, equality and belonging that resonates from the centre that is love. Out of this love, live our lives for a true difference, for a truly better world.

We are thankful for these and all the good things of life. We recognize that they are a part of our common heritage and come to us through the efforts of our brothers and sisters the world over. What we desire for ourselves, we wish for all. To this end, may we take our share in the world’s work and the world’s struggles.

An end note aside: To Bernie Van De Walle (my theology professor at Canadian Theological Seminary)-I finally fully get your comment about reading my theolgoy through the lens of Woodsworth.


The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus Christ is a new age text that reimagines the Jesus narrative as a universal spiritual journey that ties together eternal truths. It is not a reimagining in false, but touches into intuitive pieces of the story, mystery pieces that gnostic/mystic writers have been answering in “non-canonical” writings for centuries.

It is a story of living into and out of the love of the Holy Mystery. It is the story of how this attunement removes the ego of individualism that destroys self. The journey from birth to death…the reasons behind the assassination of the peasant labourer become travelling mystic rabbi can be found in the Sermon on the Mount/Plains.  This is a journey reflection for the sojourner on these passages as channeled by Levi H. Dowling (1920) in his work:

Prayer is the deep communion of the soul with God;

-Aquarian Gospel 94:2

Meister Eckhart said if the only prayer you said was thank you that would be sufficient. It is true, for it is in these moments of deep oneness that words become irrelevant, for we empty ourselves of the ego that allows for injustice to reign.

Deception is hypocrisy, and you shall not assume to be what you are not.

-Aquarian Gospel 94:18

Yet it is Ignatius of Loyola that gifted us with the Lectio Divina the sacred reading of hearing the sacred words three times to see what the Holy was saying to us.

This is a bit more than hearing of three times, for it is taking time to become contemplative, to enter the story. To rest within that which gave us life, and learn what it means to live out of and through that love.

Take a moment to reflect on the continuing Sermon on the Mount in

Chapter 95:

The Sermon on the Mount, continued. Jesus pronounces the eight beatitudes and the eight woes. Speaks words of encouragement. Emphasises the exalted character of the apostolic work.

1. And Jesus and the twelve went to the mountain top, and Jesus said,
2. Twelve pillars of the church, apostles of the Christ; light-bearers of the sun of life and ministers of God to men:
3. In just a little while you must go forth alone, and preach the gospel of the king, first to the Jews and then to all the world.
4. And you shall go, not with a scourge of cords to drive; you cannot drive men to the king;
5. But you shall go in love and helpfulness and lead the way to right and light.
6. Go forth and say, The kingdom is at hand.
7. Worthy are the strong in spirit; theirs the kingdom is.
8. Worthy are the meek; they shall possess the land.
9. Worthy they who hunger and thirst for right; they shall be satisfied.
10. Worthy are the merciful; and mercy shall be shown to them.
11. Worthy they who gain the mastery of self; they have the key of power.
12. Worthy are the pure in heart; and they shall see the king.
13. Worthy they who are maligned and wronged because they do the right; their persecutors they shall bless.
14. Worthy is the trustful child of faith; he shall sit in the throne of power.
15. Be not discouraged when the world shall persecute and call you curst; but rather be exceeding glad.
16. The prophets and the seers, and all the good of earth, have been maligned.
17. If you are worthy of the crown of life you will be slandered, vilified and curst on earth.
18. Rejoice when evil men shall drive you from their ways and cause your name to be a hiss and by-word in the street.
19. I say, rejoice; but deal in mercy with the doers of the wrong; they are but children at their play; they know not what they do.
20. Rejoice not over fallen foes. As you help men rise from the depth of sin, so God will help you on to greater heights.
21. Woe to the rich is gold and lands; they have temptations multiforms.
22. Woe unto men who walk at will in pleasure’s paths; their ways are full of snares and dangerous pits.
23. Woe to the proud; they stand upon a precipice; destruction waits for them.
24. Woe to the man of greed; for what he has is not his own; and lo, another comes; wealth is gone.
25. Woe to the hypocrite; his form is fair to look upon; his heart is filled with carcasses and dead men’s bones.
26. Woe to the cruel and relentless man; he is himself the victim of his deeds.
27. The evil he would do to other men rebounds; the scourger is the scourged.
28. Woe to the libertine who preys upon the virtues of the weak. The hour comes when he will be the weak, the victim of a libertine of greater power.
29. Woe unto you when all the world shall speak in praise of you. The world speaks not in praise of men who live within the Holy Breath; It speaks in praise of prophets false, and of illusions base.
30. You men who walk in Holy Breath are salt, the salt of earth; but if you lose your virtue you are salt in name alone, worth nothing more than dust.
31. And you are light; are called to light the world.
32. A city on a hill cannot be hid; its lights are seen afar; and while you stand upon the hills of life men see your light and imitate your works and honour God.
33. Men do not light a lamp and hide it in a cask; they put it on a stand that it may light the house.
34. You are the lamps of God; must not stand in the shade of earth illusions, but in the open, high upon the stand.
35. I am not come to nullify the law, nor to destroy; but to fulfil.
36. The Law, the Prophets and the Psalms were written in the wisdom of the Holy breath and cannot fail.
37. The heavens and earth that are will change and pass away; the word of God is sure; it cannot pass until it shall accomplish that where unto it hath been sent.
38. Whoever disregards the law of God and teaches men to do the same, becomes a debtor unto God and cannot see his face until he has returned and paid his debt by sacrifice of life.
39. But he who hearkens unto God and keeps his law and does his will on earth, shall rule with Christ.
40. The scribes and Pharisees regard the letter of the law; they cannot comprehend the spirit of the law;
41. And if your righteousness does not exceed the righteousness of scribe and Pharisee you cannot come into the kingdom of the soul.
42. It is not what man does that gives him right to enter through the gates; his pass word is his character and desire is his character.
43. The letter of the law deals with the acts of man; the spirit of the law takes note of his desires.

Which 3-5 verses resonate with your soul this day? Take those 3-5 verses as your Lection Divina contemplation today.

Rest comfortably into your chair, slowly begin a rhythmic deep breathing. Slowly feeling your surroundings slip away. Replaced by the sounds of the gathering on the mount. Sounds of children playing, animals bleating, dust blowing. Feel the grass and sand. The strong baritone voice of the rabbi you have come to hear, that others are talking of, resonates throughout the gathering of multitudes.

Upon your first reading of the verses. Sit with them. What words stick with you. Take that phrase or word and spend time with it.

Slowly enter the second reading with that word still there, what image leaps from the page? Spend time with this image?  How does this image tie to the word/phrase that came before?

Prepare your heart for the finally hearing. The word/image have set the stage. In this third hearing, what walls have broken down? Pieces of ego removed? The words of the sermon on the mount so shook society…how has it shook you? What step of faith are you going to take to live out this teaching: Today? This week? This Month?

 The seventh is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God; remember it and keep it wholly set apart for works of holiness; that is, for works not for the selfish self, but for the universal self.
 Men may do work for self upon the six days of the week; but on the Sabbath of the Lord they must do naught for self.
This day is consecrated unto God; but man serves God by serving man.

-Aquarian Gospel 96:25-27


Lectio Divina of Tools

Tradition dictates that Poppa Joseph was a carpenter, there is scholarly debate whether this is true, or simply a labourer…what is known is that under Oppression, where his mother was viewed as nothing more than property by Romans, and her own people, Joseph showed progressive love and took in a child that was not his, whether it was truly Divinely conceived, or the by-product of Roman Soldier rape that a vision revealed the blessing this awakened soul would have in his travels in the world is up to your own journey to determine.

But this passage comes after the Christian Canonical story of finding Jesus testing the Holy men in the temple, and their return to Nazareth, and the family workshop. It has Masonic overtones which make sense for the time Levi was writing to resonate with the readers on the truth found in the building blocks, and the universalist outreach intended for this writing, and showing how many different paths had converged in the wisdom of Brother Jesus.

So we are taking this passage as a Divine Reading, a contemplation for your own truth, and if you feel like sharing in the comments what you have learned, feel free.

Get comfortable where you are, breathing deeply in and out, finding peace and centring. Feel the modern world evaporate around you.  Feel the smells, the sounds of a busy Nazareth town come into your life. The dust on your clothes and feet. The smells and textures of the workshop you are in.  You are the Christ Child, learning about the tools.

In this first hearing which tool resonates with you, sit with that for a few moments:

The Aquarian Gospel 20:

After the feast. The homeward journey. The missing Jesus. The search for him. His parents find him in the temple. He goes with them to Nazareth. Symbolic meaning of carpenter’s tools.

1. The great feast of the pasch was ended and the Nazarenes were journeying towards their homes.
2. And they were in Samaria, and Mary said, Where is my son? No one had seen the boy.
3. And Joseph sought among their kindred who were on their way to Galilee; but they had seen him not.
4. Then Joseph, Mary, and a son of Zebedee, returned and sought through all Jerusalem, but they could find him not.
5. And then they went up to the temple courts and asked the guards, Have you seen Jesus, a fair-haired boy, with deep blue eyes, twelve years of age, about these courts?
6. The guards replied, Yes, he is in the temple now disputing with the doctors of the law.
7. And they went in, and found him as the guards had said.
8. And Mary said, Why Jesus, why do you treat your parents thus? Lo, we have sought two days for you. We feared that some great harm had overtaken you.
9. And Jesus said, Do you not know that I must be about my Father’s work?
10. But he went round and pressed the hand of every doctor of the law and said, I trust that we may meet again.
11. And then he went forth with his parents on their way to Nazareth; and when they reached their home he wrought with Joseph as a carpenter.
12. One day as he was bringing forth the tools for work he said,
13. These tools remind me of the ones we handle in the workshop of the mind where things were made of thought and where we build up character.
14. We use the square to measure all our lines, to straighten out the crooked places of the way, and make the corners of our conduct square.
15. We use the compass to draw circles round our passions and desires to keep them in the bounds of righteousness.
16. We use the axe to cut away the knotty, useless and ungainly parts and make the character symmetrical.
17. We use the hammer to drive home the truth, and pound it in until it is a part of every part.
18. We use the plane to smooth the rough, uneven surfaces of joint, and block, and board that go to build the temple for the truth.
19. The chisel, line, the plummet and the saw all have their uses in the workshop of the mind.
20. And then this ladder with its trinity of steps, faith, hope and love; on it we climb up to the dome of purity in life.
21. And on the twelve-step ladder we ascend until we reach the pinnacle of that which life is spent to build–the Temple of Perfected Man.

As you prepare to hear the story a second time, the tool that resonates with you, what images/memories/feelings arise within you centered around that tool? Sit with those, experience those, and release them into the Universe as the truth that Love will embrace in the now.

Hear the teaching a second time:

After the feast. The homeward journey. The missing Jesus. The search for him. His parents find him in the temple. He goes with them to Nazareth. Symbolic meaning of carpenter’s tools.

1. The great feast of the pasch was ended and the Nazarenes were journeying towards their homes.
2. And they were in Samaria, and Mary said, Where is my son? No one had seen the boy.
3. And Joseph sought among their kindred who were on their way to Galilee; but they had seen him not.
4. Then Joseph, Mary, and a son of Zebedee, returned and sought through all Jerusalem, but they could find him not.
5. And then they went up to the temple courts and asked the guards, Have you seen Jesus, a fair-haired boy, with deep blue eyes, twelve years of age, about these courts?
6. The guards replied, Yes, he is in the temple now disputing with the doctors of the law.
7. And they went in, and found him as the guards had said.
8. And Mary said, Why Jesus, why do you treat your parents thus? Lo, we have sought two days for you. We feared that some great harm had overtaken you.
9. And Jesus said, Do you not know that I must be about my Father’s work?
10. But he went round and pressed the hand of every doctor of the law and said, I trust that we may meet again.
11. And then he went forth with his parents on their way to Nazareth; and when they reached their home he wrought with Joseph as a carpenter.
12. One day as he was bringing forth the tools for work he said,
13. These tools remind me of the ones we handle in the workshop of the mind where things were made of thought and where we build up character.
14. We use the square to measure all our lines, to straighten out the crooked places of the way, and make the corners of our conduct square.
15. We use the compass to draw circles round our passions and desires to keep them in the bounds of righteousness.
16. We use the axe to cut away the knotty, useless and ungainly parts and make the character symmetrical.
17. We use the hammer to drive home the truth, and pound it in until it is a part of every part.
18. We use the plane to smooth the rough, uneven surfaces of joint, and block, and board that go to build the temple for the truth.
19. The chisel, line, the plummet and the saw all have their uses in the workshop of the mind.
20. And then this ladder with its trinity of steps, faith, hope and love; on it we climb up to the dome of purity in life.
21. And on the twelve-step ladder we ascend until we reach the pinnacle of that which life is spent to build–the Temple of Perfected Man.

Finally settle in for a third hearing of this story.  During this time you are in the now, what are you being called to do in the now with the tool that resonates with you? In your journey? Your life? You’re living in life?

Hear the third reading:

After the feast. The homeward journey. The missing Jesus. The search for him. His parents find him in the temple. He goes with them to Nazareth. Symbolic meaning of carpenter’s tools.

1. The great feast of the pasch was ended and the Nazarenes were journeying towards their homes.
2. And they were in Samaria, and Mary said, Where is my son? No one had seen the boy.
3. And Joseph sought among their kindred who were on their way to Galilee; but they had seen him not.
4. Then Joseph, Mary, and a son of Zebedee, returned and sought through all Jerusalem, but they could find him not.
5. And then they went up to the temple courts and asked the guards, Have you seen Jesus, a fair-haired boy, with deep blue eyes, twelve years of age, about these courts?
6. The guards replied, Yes, he is in the temple now disputing with the doctors of the law.
7. And they went in, and found him as the guards had said.
8. And Mary said, Why Jesus, why do you treat your parents thus? Lo, we have sought two days for you. We feared that some great harm had overtaken you.
9. And Jesus said, Do you not know that I must be about my Father’s work?
10. But he went round and pressed the hand of every doctor of the law and said, I trust that we may meet again.
11. And then he went forth with his parents on their way to Nazareth; and when they reached their home he wrought with Joseph as a carpenter.
12. One day as he was bringing forth the tools for work he said,
13. These tools remind me of the ones we handle in the workshop of the mind where things were made of thought and where we build up character.
14. We use the square to measure all our lines, to straighten out the crooked places of the way, and make the corners of our conduct square.
15. We use the compass to draw circles round our passions and desires to keep them in the bounds of righteousness.
16. We use the axe to cut away the knotty, useless and ungainly parts and make the character symmetrical.
17. We use the hammer to drive home the truth, and pound it in until it is a part of every part.
18. We use the plane to smooth the rough, uneven surfaces of joint, and block, and board that go to build the temple for the truth.
19. The chisel, line, the plummet and the saw all have their uses in the workshop of the mind.
20. And then this ladder with its trinity of steps, faith, hope and love; on it we climb up to the dome of purity in life.
21. And on the twelve-step ladder we ascend until we reach the pinnacle of that which life is spent to build–the Temple of Perfected Man.

When you are ready, enter into your breathing practice again. Feel the sounds and smells of the town fade, feel the workshop disappear around you. You are the Christ Child, you are love here and now as your modern room reforms around you.

Do a check in with your body, your fingers, toes, rhythmic breathing into the now.

Welcome back Love,

What are you going to do with your tools today?


Prologue

800 years ago, give or take a few years St. Francis of Assisi, the Patron of my Spiritual Charism, cast a new order to go beyond Order of Friars Minor (think Robin Hood’s Friar Tuck) and the Poor Clares (think Nun’s with Feminism dashed in, kind of like Sister Act with Whoopi Goldberg if you will)…

Yet. Much better than a but, Y-E-T- as Francis’ mendicants (insult meaning beggar) travelled spreading the gospel message of poverty, charity, love, and justice for all the interconnected of creation many who were married wanted to forsake their vows and join the celibate orders and…

Yup plus an A-N-D- there was some friars and sisters that well, let’s be honest humanity like every species on the planet is designed for procreation. Francis was an astute spiritual guide in that he realized this and blessed those that are called to be together, to make babies, to populate the world for that is the original commission within the Hebrew Scriptures go forth and out of the indwelling love of Spirit populate the world in love.

This is what birthed the Third, Lay or Secular Order. It was a work by one of these Franciscan’s 19 years into my journey of trying to remember paradise, discover the Spirit within, that working in a bookstore I stumbled upon John Michael Talbot’s (1998) The Life Lessons of St. Francis: How to bring Simplicity and Spirituality into your Daily Life. For someone who had journeyed through many Eastern, Celtic, Pagan, Western and Alien spiritual paths finding myself back in the Christian Church as a Sunday School teacher, this little volume showed me how my beliefs around love and inclusion worked together with belief and living out of God’s love, from the divine spark, the star dust that we are created from.

So dear reader, you are probably wondering what this 800 year history lesson has to do with anything? Especially the book you have picked up to read on different centering values to create a fuller you?

Simple, it is part of the formation of the writer of this book, it has influenced my understanding and shaped any bias within the stories to be found within. Also, when in the mid-2000’s I took the Munay-Ki Shamanic Rites, I was blessed to be labelled a Wisdom Keeper, one that holds the truths of the ancient stories for today.

In the Franciscan story there are many truths for today, but the one to remember as we move through these pages is perhaps the simplest lesson of all:

Within Francsicanism there is no historical Reformation (where the Protestant Church split from the Roman Catholic Church) rather it is a moment by moment reformation of one’s own heart, soul, spirit and community that one is called into.

So thank you for stepping into this new journey, it is a collection of values for all ages. To prepare for this spend time cleansing your energy, exhaling out the negative, and opening your heart to seeing things in a new light. There may be terms that are unfamiliar or may not resonate with you, this is due to my family’s Judeo-Christian Heritage, simply as you are reading replace them with terms that resonate with you.

I encourage you to find the best time of day to do the soul work with these values, take along a prepared kit:

Monk’s Bag of Tricks

  1. A simple bag, back pack or attache case
  2. Place within pens, pencils, crayons, pencil crayons, pastels,
  3. A fidget toy (perhaps a koosh, some Lego, a slinky, mystery box figures, something to play with to clear your mind when you get stumped).
  4. A journal
  5. A book of Wisdom teachings that you can read a snippet of each day.

Armed with this bag in your daily life, either identify a place in your community or your home that you can use as a retreat space to commune deeper within yourself.

So are you ready? This will not be your traditional spiritual formation journey, I mean the book is called Left Field, which for any sports metaphor you know it is usually the unusual team members that do not fit anywhere else.

That is us, those that are seeking the personal ongoing moment by moment reformation of St. Francis of Assisi, not only for ourselves but for our community and out world. So the question is now in your hands, close the book and walk away…

Or turn the page, step into left field with gusto and accept the challenge to create a new you.

Left Field


A new spiritual work…this is a draft of a chapter thought I would share:

For God is my witness, how I long for all of you with the compassion of Christ Jesus.

-Philippians 1:8

Ah the first step in understanding the Cosmic Christ you are, that’s right the star stuff we are created from, that is the Cosmic Christ within, the divine you in unity with the human you in the here and now. The first step in this reality is living a life of compassion. These are simple lessons of life shown not told. It is in the way that you observed your family behaving, how others were treated. Perhaps it was stories told after the fact, or those that became family legend.

For those without a happy family life, perhaps it was the mentors and family you chose to have in your life that laid out the new reality. This is the reality that exists, and that by beginning this new journey you may see again.

One who is not envious but who is a kind friend to all living

entities, who does not think himself a proprietor, who is free

from false ego and equal both in happiness and distress, who

is always satisfied and engaged in devotional service with

determination and whose mind and intelligence are in agreement

 with Me-he is very dear to Me.

                                                –Bhagavad Gita 12: 13-14

The fruits of the Divine within whether you term it Spirit, God, G(o)od, Vishnu, Krishna, Dharma, Karma—the list can go on, but what is evident is we know the star stuff exists as science says, and from that we live out the compassion that burns brightly. By acknowledging it and listening to it, we move beyond the “Old Laws” like Moses character was used to lay out in the 10 Commandments (and the 617 in Leviticus) that in our infancy story guided us towards a selfless self-love life that drew us closest to the divine.

My family was raised with many living examples of the simplicity that is compassion, as Paul wrote to the church in Philippi there is a compassion within each of us as was witnessed in the life of the Master Teacher Jesus of Nazareth. This is the compassion that if you take time to be present in your own story, and the great story around you will see.

In my own life it was being 16 years old and being at my Granddad’s funeral, having many of the now adults that grew up in the town with my grandparents and them sharing the open door they had in their home for the neighbourhood kids, always having the open listening ear to help them work through life issues to come to a solution.

It was hearing about my Grandma Ragan working in a diner in Canada around the Air Force bases, and refusing to bend to American soldier’s whims not to serve African Canadian Soldiers and welcoming them all in. Her following the life of a friend of my Uncle’s of Japanese descent and celebrating his milestones, even though she should have been of a generation that saw him as “enemy”.

It was the open welcoming door in my own home growing up, where whichever person entered became part of the family. My Mum and Dad always having a helping hand for friend, family, neighbour or stranger whether it was help with child care, food, rides or just a listening ear, and a strong shoulder for tears.

These were not people that trumpeted their simple acts of compassion as anything more than simply what one did in life to help another member of the family that is humanity. It is stepping away from mourning what “we don’t have” or “what we can’t do” to looking at the blessing we are, the purpose we have been given and are doing, to something deeper.

N-A-M-A-S-T-E-

The divine in me sees and recognizes the divine in you.

To one step more…even when you don’t I will see it and respond to it, and interact with you as such to help bring you begin to see you as the truth of divinity you are.

An ancient story was used by Jesus of Nazareth, Brother Jesus in Franciscan teachings, from the Gospel of Luke. Luke was a physician and a historian who tradition of the church states in his works Luke and Acts of the Apostles set out to write an orderly historical account of the early church. What is also noted as you read these works as one, these are not high faluting theological texts like John (Greek) or Matthew (Jewish) or a Roman Action Flick like Mark, no Luke is like the investigative reports of the ancient world.

It starts with the story of a girl without voice, nothing more than property, that God breaks that culturally established walls of propriety and asks Mary of Nazareth, if she wants to take on the shame, the outcast, the challenge of a lifetime in becoming a living example of compassion to the world. Would she become a mother out of wedlock? Essentially if her betrothed did not choose to follow would lead to her execution by stoning or being cast out the city to become a beggar/child sex trade worker for survivial.

Yet she chose the power of love, hope and compassion. Mary chose her yes.

The rest of Luke’s works are filled with stories that poke the bear if you will of cultural norms and challenges them. I do believe if Luke was writing in the Twenty-First Century about the church he would tear open the idiocy of the debate around full inclusion by sharing power stories of the divine within the lives of Trans folk, LGBTTQ, the single parents, the addicts, the abused, the fallen from grace and those with disabilities in such a way that they would be as fully included as Mary of Nazareth and lives as celebrated.

But I digress. For this is the backdrop of the writer as Brother Jesus is answering questions. And then a powerful story emerges over a question of “who is my neighbour?”

25 Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus.[a] “Teacher,” he said, “what must

I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? What

do you read there?” 27 He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all

your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your

mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And he said to him, “You have given

the right answer; do this, and you will live.”

29 But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell

into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving

him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when

he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came

to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan while

traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. 34 He

went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then

he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 The

next day he took out two denarii,[b] gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care

of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.’ 36 Which

 of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of

the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go

and do likewise.”

-Luke 10: 25-37

At this point it is time to pause and let the story speak to you. This is a mix of breath prayer and Lectio Divina. The Divine Reading as taught by Ignatius of Loyola as a method of study to allow the inner divinity to speak to you through the ancient stories. Read the story three times, if you can find an audio link online then listen to it. With each reading/listening there will be a question to reflect upon.

Sit comfortably, slow your breathing, focusing on it. Feel the environment you are in fade away. Feel the gritty sand get between your toes, the arid desert air, the sounds of the market place, bleating of live stock, haggling. Take in the aromas of the sacrifices, the fresh food, cooking, children singing and dancing, soldiers moving in and out taking what they want. You find the small group surrounding the labourer who has become a rabbi. How not many know, but they have all heard the legends of this man, the whispers that he is the bastard child of a Roman soldier, yet there is something in his manner, the way he looks upon everyone with tenderness, and compassion regardless of who they are or where they are from, he draws you into the conversation. The lawyer asks the question…who is my neighbour? The priest and the levite are so heavenly minded they will not stray from the rules of holiness to help someone in need, which makes them no earthly good. The Samaritan is part of a race from an exile of ancient Israel that saw them remain in exile and inter-marry with the conquerors, they worship God differently, they are seen as traitor’s to the chosen people, the stereotypical villain of every story.

Hear the story for the first time, during this reading as you walk through as the priest. What times in your life flash back to when you responded as the Priest and Levite? What truth emerges in these memories as you sit with them? Now as you sit write them out, colour them out to cleanse your Chakra energy of this negativity.

Sit looking at the old, are you ready to release this way of being? If so walk it out the garbage bin outside your home, rip it up and throw it in, walk away from this old way of being. If not note why, and come back to it later.

Hear the story for a second time this time as the Samaritan left hurting and bloodied by   bandits on the road side. What comes to you, with those that at first walked past  that you expected aid from and none came as with the Priest and Levite? Write and colour this out in your breathing again to get it out of you. In these moments where did aid come from surprising sources, take this thought and enter it into your journal as a reminder of times when someone else’s divinity came to you.

Are you ready to dispose of the hurt and pain of being left by the roadside by those you believed to be friend or helper? If you are take the walk as before and dispose of, if not place in your journal and note why you are not ready yet?

Hear the story for a third time, this time hear it as the Samaritan. What makes you stop? What times in your life have you lived out this compassion regardless of labels? Not these in your journal to remind yourself of living compassionately, invest these in your heart and sit with them.

Slowly bring your breathing back to normal, the aromas of the market place vanish, the sounds dissipate, the sand and breeze are gone, feel the chair reform around you, hear the sounds of your world, and the new aromas of your world. You are back and have a question to answer? As you interact with your world, others in your community, your workplace, your place of worship, your home and within yourself.

One simple question to answer: 

Who is my neighbour?

 

One simple question to answer:

Who is my neighbour?


The Lord's Prayer (1886-1896) from the series ...

The Lord’s Prayer (1886-1896) from the series The Life of Christ, Brooklyn Museum (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A spiritual exercie for you to consider, spend time in a Lectio Divina with each of these Lord’s Prayer versions from Pilgrim Uniting Church in the City. Once you have completed this reflection in about 7 days (possibly more if you find other versions) and then spend time in reflection and through art or word craft your own Lord’s Prayer, how do you pray to your loving creator?

Lord’s Prayer

 

On occasions, the Lord’s Prayer may be used in communion, to conclude prayers of intercession etc. Other versions of the Lord’s Prayer may be considered for use, including from other cultures. As well, it may be said in language groups represented in the congregation.

 

Contemporary English version
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your Kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins,
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom,
the power and the glory are yours.
Now and for ever.

Amen.

 

Central American Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who is in us here on earth,

holy is your name
in the hungry who share their bread and their song.

Your kingdom come,
a generous land where confidence and truth reign.

Let us do your will
being a cool breeze for those who sweat.

You are giving us our daily bread
when we manage to get back our lands and to get a fairer wage.

Forgive us for keeping silent in the face of injustice
and for burying our dreams.
Don’t let us fall into the temptation
of taking up the same arms as our enemy,
but deliver us from evil which disunites us.

And we shall have believed in humanity and in life
and we shall have known your kingdom
which is being built for ever and ever.
(Central American Lord’s Prayer, shortened)

Source: Dare to Dream: A Prayer & Worship Anthology from around the world, p.56

 

The Lord’s Prayer (New Zealand)
Eternal Spirit,
Earth-maker, Pain bearer, Life-giver,
Source of all that is and that shall be,
Father and Mother of us all,
Loving God, in whom is heaven:

The hallowing of your name echo through the universe!
The way of your justice be followed by the peoples of the world!
Your heavenly will be done by all created beings!
Your commonwealth of peace and freedom
sustain our hope and come on earth!
With the bread we need for today,
feed us.
In the hurts we absorb from one another,
forgive us.
In times of temptation and test,
strengthen us.
From trial too great to endure,
spare us.
From the grip of all that is evil,
free us.
For you reign in the glory of the power that is love,
now and forever. Amen.

Source: A New Zealand Prayer Book (Harper Collins, 1997), 181.

 

The’Abba‘ Prayer

Gracious Spirit,
Who loves us like a mother,
Whose realm is blooming among us now.
And within.

 

We pray that your compassion guide us in every action.
Give us what we need for each day,
and help us to be satisfied with the miracle of that alone.

 

Forgiver, whose embrace brings us to wholeness without our asking,
May we reconcile ourselves to one another in humility.
And may we cancel the crushing debts that imprison our neighbours
So that communities of joy and health may flourish.

 

May we neither profit from nor ignore evil.
But ever work to thwart it with non-violence
As we co-create the realm of peace in this world.
Now and each day.
Amen.  (Bret Hesla/wsj)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Lord’s Prayer (The Message)

 

Our Father in heaven,

Reveal who you are.

Set the world right;

Do what’s best— as above, so below.

Keep us alive with three square meals.

Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.

Keep us safe from ourselves and what is evil.

You’re in charge!

You can do anything you want!

You’re ablaze in beauty!

Yes. Yes. Yes.

 

Source: The Message by Eugene H. Peterson (paraphrase of Matthew 6:9-13)

 

THE LORD’S PRAYER – an adaptation

 

Our Father in heaven, may Your name be kept

in reverence, honour and awe.

Let Your Reign come and Your will be done,

on earth as in heaven for all.

 

Feed us today with the food we need;

nourish, refresh us, we pray.

Forgive us our wrongdoings as we forgive

those who have wronged us along the way.

 

And as we go through hard-testing times

deliver us from Evil’s way.

For the Reign, the Power and Glory are Yours

today and forever always.  AMEN.

 

(Translated by Rev. John Maynard, April 2011.)

 

Sung versions of the Lord’s Prayer

 

1. Aboriginal Lord’s Prayer (All Together for Good 574)

 

You are our Father, You live in Heaven

We talk to You, Father, You are good. (repeat)

 

We believe Your Word, Father, we Your children.

Give us bread today.   (repeat)

 

We have done wrong, we are sorry.

Help us Father, not to sin again. (repeat)

 

Others have done wrong, to us

And we are sorry for them, Father today. (repeat)

 

Stop us from doing wrong, Father,

Save us all from the evil one.            (repeat)

 

You are our Father, You live in Heaven.

We talk to You, Father, You are good. (repeat)